Thanks to Boon Thau Loo and Stefan Sariou for a very interesting workshop on Networking Meets Databases (NetDB), and especially for inviting a high-octane panel to debate the success and directions of Declarative Networking.
The panel members included:
- Fred Baker, Cisco
- Joe Hellerstein, Berkeley
- Eddie Kohler, UCLA and Meraki
- Arvind Krishnamurthy, U Washington
- Petros Maniatis, Intel Research
- Timothy Roscoe, ETH Zurich
Butler Lampson made numerous comments from the audience, and given his insight and stature was viewed by most as something of an additional panelist.
I was happy to see a very vigorous debate! Lots of interesting points made, no punches pulled. My slides are posted here, and include an ad hoc manifesto for how to move forward.
Everybody got a few minutes to speak at the beginning. Eddie and Fred pushed hard for a focus on demonstrated relevance to networking, with Fred reflecting on his “real world” problems at Cisco, and Eddie contrasting his experiences with Prolac and Click. Petros and I pushed for expanding out of networking into more fruitful domains (e.g. cloud). Arvind spoke as an “outsider” and made a plea for help — he’s writing complex distributed systems in python and it’s “killing” him (we’re talking to him about helping…) Mothy reeled off a litany of related topics that the community should be sure to connect better to: Lamport’s TLA, functional languages, description logics, and stream query processors … to name a few.
My general take is that (a) there’s a lot to be proud of in this space, and even more opportunity going forward, and (b) we’ve passed the point of plausibility for these ideas, and it’s time to show more relevance.
On point (b), I think there was general consensus — particularly the second half. Onward then.